Senegal backs Libyan proposal for African army
Tuesday, February 24, 2004
Sirte, Libya (PANA)
- Senegalese Foreign Minister Cheikh
Tidiane Gadio said here Monday Libya's proposal for the
creation of a single African army was in line with his
country's constitution, which expresses preparedness to
"partly or totally abandon of our sovereignty to build African
"We need neither a referendum nor a change of constitution to
adhere to anything aimed at achieving progress in the African
Union. But we understand the others who have constitutional
problems and therefore we think that the debate should be a
fundamental one," Gadio told PANA.
"The creation of a single African army means the dismantling of
national armies and making savings," the Libyan leader Moammar
Kadhafi said on Sunday in Sirte when opening the second meeting
of African Defence and Security ministers from 45 AU member
Africa spends US$13 billion to sustain 2,250,000 soldiers
annually, Kadhafi told the ministers.
While countries in the Southern Africa Development Community
(SADC) described the idea as a good, they suggested it should be
further developed, first by establishing standing forces,
sub-regional brigades and re-examining the entire concept before
the creation of a continental army.
"Nobody rejected the idea, but everyone asked how this will be
achieved," Gadio added. Senegal suggested that the issue be
discussed at heads of state level.
"There is no African country nor a single African citizen who
does not agree that several (53) poorly housed, poorly clothed
and poorly managed African armies is a waste a money and this
does not solve defence problems in Africa."
The meeting, which examined the Libyan draft African joint
defence treaty and the creation of a continental army, also
reviewed the draft Non aggression and defence pact between
African countries, Gadio said.
"All delegates raised a fundamental issue that Congo proposed
another non aggression and mutual assistance pact almost similar
to the one submitted by the AU Commission.
"For this purpose, delegates underscored the need to harmonise
these texts and to avoid being engaged in several agreements
and treaties at the same time," he said.
Gadio said that he raised the problem of militia group contained
in the Congolese document. "Congo's contribution should be merged
into the (AU) document so that we can have a single text."
"Militia groups represent a problem in Africa like international
terrorism, drug and money laundering ... for war purposes."
Under the non-aggression and defence pact, it is proposed that
member states who ratify it could form a coalition to stop a war
with a member State, which is not a signatory party, the
Senegalese minister said, affirming that the AU's objective is
to have a continent that is free from war.
"I said no, this is not acceptable, because we took a wager
by creating the AU, whose aim was that there would be no more
conflict between African countries. This is the wager."
Gadio explained the constitutive act of the AU stipulates that
there would be no aggression between states and peaceful means
would be used to solve problems that arise.
"Senegal raised this issue and asked our brothers to think about
ways of harmonising all these texts and polish them so as to have
an acceptable final document."
Copyright © 2004 PANA
"All of us may not live to see the higher accomplishments of an African empire, so strong and powerful as to compel the respect of mankind, but we in our lifetime can so work and act as to make the dream a possibility within another generation"
-The Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey